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Knife/firing rod connection for surgical instrument
8074862 Knife/firing rod connection for surgical instrument
Patent Drawings:Drawing: 8074862-10    Drawing: 8074862-11    Drawing: 8074862-12    Drawing: 8074862-13    Drawing: 8074862-14    Drawing: 8074862-15    Drawing: 8074862-16    Drawing: 8074862-17    Drawing: 8074862-18    Drawing: 8074862-8    
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(11 images)

Inventor: Shah
Date Issued: December 13, 2011
Application: 12/780,431
Filed: May 14, 2010
Inventors: Shah; Sachin (Milford, CT)
Assignee: Tyco Healthcare Group LP (North Haven, CT)
Primary Examiner: Durand; Paul
Assistant Examiner:
Attorney Or Agent:
U.S. Class: 227/180.1; 227/175.1; 227/175.4
Field Of Search: 227/175.1; 227/175.2; 227/175.4; 227/180.1; 227/181.1
International Class: A61B 17/00
U.S Patent Documents:
Foreign Patent Documents: 5476586; 2744824; 2903159; 3114135; 4213426; 4300307; 0041022; 0136950; 0140552; 0156774; 0216532; 0220029; 0213817; 0273468; 0324166; 0324635; 0324637; 0324638; 0369324; 0373762; 0380025; 0399701; 0449394; 0484677; 0489436; 0503662; 0514139; 0536903; 0537572; 0539762; 0545029; 0552050; 0552423; 0579038; 0589306; 0591946; 0592243; 0593920; 0598202; 0598579; 0621006; 0621009; 0656188; 0365153; 0666057; 0705571; 0760230; 1927319; 2542188; 2660851; 2681775; 1352554; 1452185; 1555455; 2048685; 2070499; 2141066; 2165559; 659146; 728848; 980703; 990220; WO8302247; WO 89/10094; WO9210976; 9308754; 9314706; 03/094743; WO2004/032763; WO2005/037329
Other References: European Search Report for EP 09251399.3-2310 date of completion is Sep. 7, 2009 (3 pages). cited by other.









Abstract: A surgical instrument including a frame, an elongate portion, a firing rod and an end effector is disclosed. The elongate portion extends distally from the frame and defines a longitudinal axis. The firing rod is disposed at least partially with the elongate portion and is proximally and distally translatable with respect to the elongate portion. The end effector includes a knife and is disposed at a distal portion of the elongate portion. Distal movement of the firing rod causes a distal end of the firing rod to link with the knife. Proximal movement of the firing rod moves the linked knife proximally to a first predetermined position. The knife is unlinked from the firing rod when the firing rod has been translated proximally to a second predetermined position.
Claim: The invention claimed is:

1. A surgical instrument, comprising: a frame; an elongate portion extending distally from the frame and defining a longitudinal axis; a firing rod disposed at leastpartially within the elongate portion and being translatable with respect to the elongate portion; a connector disposed adjacent a distal portion of the firing rod; and an end effector arranged at a distal end of the elongate portion, the end effectorincluding a first jaw member, and a second jaw member, the jaw members being movable with respect to each other between an open position and an approximation position, the first jaw member including a cartridge having a knife disposed therein; whereinapproximation of the jaw members causes the connector to connect with the knife; and wherein the connector is configured to disengage the knife when at least one jaw member moves with respect to the other jaw member towards the open position.

2. The surgical instrument of claim 1, wherein the connector is substantially J-shaped.

3. The surgical instrument of claim 1, wherein distal translation of the firing rod causes distal translation of the knife.

4. The surgical instrument of claim 1, further comprising a movable handle disposed in mechanical cooperation with the frame, and wherein at least a partial actuation of the movement handle effects translation of the firing rod.

5. A surgical instrument, comprising: a frame; an elongate portion extending distally from the frame and defining a longitudinal axis; a firing rod disposed at least partially within the elongate portion and being translatable with respect tothe elongate portion; a connector disposed adjacent a distal portion of the firing rod; an end effector arranged at a distal end up the elongate portion, the end effector including a first jaw member, and a second jaw member, the jaw members beingmovable with respect to each other between an open position and an approximation position; and the first jaw member of the end effector including a cartridge having a knife disposed therein; wherein the connector is engagable with the knife, andwherein the connector is configured to engage with the knife upon approximation of the jaw members, and wherein the connector is configured to swivel with respect to the elongate portion when the jaw members are moved towards their open position.

6. The surgical instrument of claim 5, wherein the connector is substantially J-shaped.

7. The surgical instrument of claim 5, wherein distal translation of the firing rod causes distal translation of the knife.

8. The surgical instrument of claim 5, further comprising a movable handle disposed in mechanical cooperation with the frame, and wherein at least a partial actuation of the movement handle effects translation of the firing rod.

9. A surgical instrument, comprising: a frame; an elongate portion extending distally from the frame and defining a longitudinal axis; a firing rod disposed at least partially within the elongate portion and being translatable with respect tothe elongate portion; a substantially J-shaped connector disposed adjacent a distal portion of the firing rod; and an end effector arranged at a distal end of the elongate portion, the end effector including a first jaw member, and a second jaw member,the jaw members being movable with respect to each other between an open position and an approximation position, the first jaw member including a cartridge having a knife disposed therein; wherein approximation of the jaw members causes the connector toconnect with the knife.

10. A surgical instrument, comprising: a frame; an elongate portion extending distally from the frame and defining a longitudinal axis; a firing rod disposed at least partially within the elongate portion and being translatable with respectto the elongate portion; a substantially J-shaped connector disposed adjacent a distal portion of the firing rod; an end effector arranged at a distal end up the elongate portion, the end effector including a first jaw member, and a second jaw member,the jaw members being movable with respect to each other between an open position and an approximation position; and the first jaw member of the end effector including a cartridge having a knife disposed therein; wherein the connector is engagable withthe knife, and wherein the connector is configured to engage with the knife upon approximation of the jaw members.
Description: BACKGROUND

1. Technical Field

This present disclosure relates to a surgical instrument having jaws that are movable between open and closed positions, and more particularly to a surgical instrument having a knife bar.

2. Background of Related Art

Surgical devices wherein tissue is first grasped or clamped between opposing jaw structure and then joined by surgical fasteners are well known in the art. In some instruments, a knife is provided to cut the tissue which has been joined by thefasteners. The fasteners are typically in the form of surgical staples but two part polymeric listeners can also be utilized.

Instruments for this purpose may include two elongated members which are respectively used to capture or clamp tissue. Typically, one of the members carries a staple cartridge that houses a plurality of staples arranged in at least two lateralrows while the other member has an anvil that defines a surface for forming the staple legs as the staples are driven from the staple cartridge. The stapling operation is effected by cam bars that travel longitudinally through the staple cartridge, withthe cam bars acting upon staple pushers to sequentially eject the staples from the staple cartridge.

SUMMARY

The present disclosure relates to a surgical instrument including a frame, an elongate portion, a firing rod and an end effector. The elongate portion extends distally from the frame and defines a longitudinal axis. The firing rod is disposedat least partially with the elongate portion and is proximally and distally translatable with respect to the elongate portion. The end effector includes a knife and is disposed at a distal portion of the elongate portion. Distal movement of the firingrod causes a distal end of the firing rod to link with the knife. Proximal movement of the firing rod moves the linked knife proximally to a first predetermined position. The knife is unlinked from the firing rod when the firing rod has been translatedproximally to a second predetermined position.

The present disclosure also relates to a surgical instrument including a frame, an elongate portion, a firing rod, a connector, and an end effector. The elongate portion extends distally from the frame and defines a longitudinal axis. Thefiring rod is disposed at least partially within the elongate portion and is translatable with respect to the elongate portion. The connector is disposed adjacent a distal portion of the firing rod. The end effector is arranged at distal end of theelongate portion. The end effector includes a first jaw member and a second jaw member. The jaw members are movable with respect to each other between an open position and an approximated position. The end effector includes a first jaw membercartridge having a knife. The connector is engagable with the knife. The connector is configured to link with the knife upon approximation of the jaw members.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various embodiments of the presently disclosed surgical stapling apparatus are disclosed herein with reference to the drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of a surgical instrument in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 illustrates a partial cross-sectional view of a frame of the surgical instrument of FIG. 1 showing a clamp handle in an open position;

FIG. 3 illustrates a partial cross-sectional view of the frame of FIG. 2 showing the clamp handle in an approximated position;

FIG. 4 illustrates a partial cross-sectional view of the frame of FIG. 2 with the frame omitted;

FIG. 5 illustrates a distal portion of the surgical instrument of FIG. 1 showing jaw members in an open position in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 6 illustrates an enlarged view of the part of the distal portion of the surgical instrument indicated in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 illustrates a distal portion of the surgical instrument of FIG. 1 showing the jaw members in an approximated position in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 8 illustrates an enlarged view of the part of the distal portion of the surgical instrument indicated in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 illustrates an enlarged cross-sectional view of a distal portion of an embodiment of the surgical instrument of the present disclosure showing a knife connection in an unlinked position in accordance with an embodiment of the presentdisclosure;

FIG. 10 illustrates the knife connection of FIG. 9 in a linked position;

FIG. 11 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a knife connection in an unlinked position according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 12 illustrates the knife connection of FIG. 11 in a linked position;

FIG. 13 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a knife connection in an unlinked position according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 14 illustrates the knife connection of FIG. 13 in a linked position;

FIG. 15 illustrates a top, cross-sectional view of a knife connection in an unlinked position according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 16 illustrates the knife connection of FIG. 15 in a linked position;

FIG. 17 illustrates a side view of the knife connection of FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 illustrates an exploded view of a cartridge assembly according to an embodiment of the present disclosure; and

FIG. 19 illustrates a partial, cross-sectional view of the cartridge assembly of FIG. 18.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Embodiments of the presently disclosed surgical instrument are described in detail with reference to the drawings wherein like numerals designate identical or corresponding elements in each of the several views. As is common in the art, theterm "proximal" refers to that part or component closer to the user or operator, e.g., surgeon or physician, while the term "distal" refers to that part or component farther away from the user.

Referring to FIG. 1, an embodiment of a surgical instrument 100 of the present disclosure is illustrated. Surgical instrument 100 of this embodiment includes a frame 110, a clamp handle 120, a firing handle 130, an elongate portion 140 and anend effector 150. Elongate portion 140 defines a longitudinal axis "X-X" for surgical instrument 100. Frame 110 is of an overall size and shape convenient for being held in the hand. Clamp handle 120 and firing handle 130 are both pivotally mounted toframe 110 for actuation between open and closed positions.

An example of various aspects of the present disclosure, including the frame, clamp handle, and firing handle, are disclosed in commonly-owned U.S. Pat. No. 5,318,221, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein, in itsentirety. Certain aspects of the present disclosure, including actuation of end effector 150, is disclosed in commonly-owned U.S. Pat. No. 6,953,139 to Milliman et al., the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein.

As discussed in greater detail below, end effector 150 includes two jaw members--an anvil 160 and a cartridge assembly 170. Anvil 160 and cartridge assembly 170 extend from a distal portion of elongate portion 140. At least one of anvil 160and cartridge assembly 170 are pivotably movable in relation to the other. Anvil 160 includes a tissue-contacting surface with staple forming depressions thereon (not explicitly shown in the illustrated embodiments). Cartridge assembly 170 includes aplurality of surgical fasteners therein (not explicitly shown in the illustrated embodiments), which are ejectable through tissue and into anvil 160.

A replaceable staple cartridge (or loading unit) may be used with surgical instrument 100 of FIG. 1. The replaceable staple cartridge may house a plurality of staples arranged in at least two lateral rows and may be mountable in a cartridgechannel 210 of cartridge assembly 170. Examples of loading units for use with a surgical stapling instrument are disclosed in commonly-owned U.S. Pat. No. 5,752,644 to Bolanos et al., the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by referenceherein.

A portion of a drive assembly 300 is illustrated in FIGS. 2-4. Drive assembly 300 of this embodiment includes a drive beam 310. At least a partial actuation of clamp handle 120 is configured to translate drive beam 310 longitudinally toapproximate anvil 160 and cartridge assembly 170 with respect to one another. At least a partial actuation of firing handle 130 is configured to translate a firing rod 320 (discussed in greater detail below) longitudinally to eject surgical fasteners(e.g., staples) from cartridge assembly 170 and/or to cut tissue. The firing rod 320 is arranged in the elongate portion 140 and is connected to knife 400 as discussed below. The firing rod 320 is arranged alongside, or concentrically with the drivebeam 310.

To clamp tissue, clamp handle 120 is pivoted downward (in the direction of arrow "A" in FIG. 2) towards frame 110. Clamp handle 120 is connected to a handle link 122 such that drive beam 310 moves longitudinally when clamp handle 120 is pivotedclosed. This distal longitudinal movement causes a portion of drive beam 310 (e.g., I-beam or actuation portion 330) to contact a camming surface 152 of end effector 150 forcing at least one of anvil 160 and cartridge assembly 170 towards the other. Further details of the clamp handle 120 and drive beam 310 are disclosed in commonly-owned U.S. Pat. No. 5,318,221 to Green et al., the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein.

When the surgeon is ready to emplace fasteners and cut tissue, firing handle 130 is actuated, which translates firing rod 320 longitudinally (e.g., distally). An actuation sled may be positioned distally of the distal end of firing rod 320 suchthat the distal longitudinal movement of firing rod 320 advances the actuation sled in the distal direction. After actuation, firing handle 130 is released and returns to its original position. Further details of firing fasteners and the retraction offiring handle 130 are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,318,221 to Green et al., previously incorporated by reference.

With continued reference to FIGS. 2-4, further details of clamp handle 120 and internal parts of frame 110 are shown according to an embodiment of the present disclosure. Here, a proximal portion 124 of handle link 122 (e.g., a monolithicallyformed link) is pivotably engaged with clamp handle 120 (e.g., a proximal portion thereof) and a distal portion 126 of handle link 122 is pivotably engaged with a proximal portion 312 of drive beam 310. A biasing member 180 is illustrated (see FIG. 4),which is configured to bias drive beam 310 proximally (which biases the jaw members in an open position). A proximal portion of biasing member 180 is disposed in mechanical cooperation with frame 110 (e.g., via pin 182) and a distal portion of biasingmember 180 is in mechanical cooperation with proximal portion 312 of drive beam 310 (see FIG. 4). As can be appreciated, at least a partial actuation (i.e., movement in the direction of arrow "A") of clamp handle 120 forces distal portion 126 of handlelink 122 distally, which causes drive beam 310 to be distally translated against the bias of biasing member 180. As discussed above, distal translation of drive beam 310 causes approximation of the jaw members to clamp tissue therebetween.

With specific reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, surgical instrument 100 of this embodiment includes a latch structure 190 disposed in mechanical cooperation with at least one of fame 110 and clamp handle 120. For example, latch structure 190 mayinclude a first portion 192 disposed on clamp handle 120 and a second portion 194 disposed on frame 110, such that actuation of clamp handle 120 (e.g., a full actuation) causes first portion 192 to engage with second portion 194 to releasably maintainclamp handle 120 in a closed position. Further, a release mechanism 196 may be disposed on a portion of surgical instrument 100 (e.g., clamp handle 120) such that applying pressure to release mechanism 196 (e.g., upward pressure) causes clamp handle 120to be released from its closed position. That is, activation of release mechanism 196 causes portions 192, 194 of latch mechanism 190 to disengage or unlatch from one another.

In an envisioned embodiment, biasing member 180 is a spring that includes a spring constant which is configured to prevent the jaw members from reaching their approximated position when tissue therebetween exceeds a predetermined thickness. Anexample when tissue is "too thick" is when the thickness of the tissue between the jaw members would substantially prevent proper emplacement of fasteners therein and/or therethrough.

In a disclosed embodiment, actuation of clamp handle 120 is also configured to provide a user with tactile feedback. For instance, the resistance a user experiences in response to actuating clamp handle 120 may be proportionate to the thicknessof the tissue being clamped between the jaw members. Thus, the user is provided with feedback (in the form of resistance) as clamp handle 120 is actuated to approximate the jaw members about tissue therebetween. This feedback may be directly orindirectly proportional to the thickness of the tissue being clamp. It is further envisioned that this amount of force is insufficient to overcome the resistance provided by "too thick" tissue being positioned between the jaw members, thus substantiallypreventing a user from clamp tissue that is "too thick."

With specific reference to FIG. 2, in its non-actuated or open position, clamp handle 120 (including handle link 122 and various pivot points) is configured to have a relatively low height from the longitudinal axis. Such a relatively smalldistance provides the overall surgical instrument 100 with a smaller profile, which is generally a desirable feature, as the instrument is less bulky and thus easier to handle. Additionally, it is envisioned that a user can actuate this "low profile"clamp handle 120 with his or her thumb of the same hand that the user uses to actuate movable handle 130 to fire staples, for example. Thus, clamp handle 120 is configured and dimensioned to facilitate one-handed operation of surgical instrument 100.

Referring now to FIGS. 5-8, an embodiment of the present disclosure relating to approximating jaw members is shown. In this embodiment, end effector 150 includes a pair of camming surfaces 152a and 152b. FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate the jawmembers in an open (i.e., non-approximated position. Here, actuation portion 330 (e.g., an upper horizontal portion of an I-beam) of drive beam 310 is in a first, proximal position. As discussed hereinabove, approximation of clamp handle 120 causesactuation portion 330 of drive beam to translate distally. Upon distal translation of drive beam 310, actuation portion 330 contacts distal camming surface 152a, which causes approximation of the jaw members (e.g., cartridge assembly 170 moves towards astationary anvil 160). FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate the result of at least a partial actuation of clamp handle 120, i.e., actuation portion 330 in a distal position and the jaw members in an approximated position.

Once the jaw members are approximated, a user can, for instance, at least partially actuate firing handle 130 to advance the firing rod and eject staples from cartridge assembly 170. The firing handle is desirably biased toward its initialposition so that after firing, the firing rod and actuation portion 330 are retracted. Prior to the ejection of staples, the user can raise clamp handle 120 (e.g., in the substantial direction of arrow "B" in FIG. 3) to retract drive beam 310 and causeactuation portion 330 to move proximally and contact proximal camming surface 152b. As actuation portion 330 of drive beam 310 contacts proximal camming surface 152b, the jaw members open with respect to each other (e.g., cartridge assembly 170 movesaway from anvil 160). As shown, distal camming surface 152a and proximal camming surface 152b may be adjacent one other, thus forming a V-like shape.

In the illustrated embodiment, the movable jaw member (e.g., cartridge assembly 170) also includes a lip 154 disposed on a proximal portion thereof. Lip 154 is raised above camming surface 152b and is configured to help prevent actuationportion 330 of drive beam 310 from being translated too far proximally.

Additionally, the movable jaw member is shown having a substantially flat surface 156 (i.e., substantially parallel with the longitudinal axis when the jaw members are approximated) adjacent to and distally of distal camming surface 152a (seeFIG. 6). In this configuration, actuation portion 330 of drive beam 310 may continue to translate distally after contacting distal camming surface 152a (and after the jaw members have been at least partially approximated) and may engage surface 156. Itis envisioned that engagement between actuation portion 330 and surface, 156 may help maintain the jaw members in the approximated position.

Additionally, while not explicitly illustrated herein, it is envisioned that surgical instrument 100 of the present disclosure does not include a clamp handle. In such an embodiment, a partial actuation of firing handle 130 can be used toapproximate jaw members and a further, more complete, actuation of firing handle 130 fires staples, for instance. The firing handle, in these embodiments, has a pawl that is biased into engagement with a toothed rack attached to the drive beam. Multiple actuations of the firing handle are used to advance the drive beam. The initial advancement of the drive beam closes the jaw members. With continued actuation of the firing handle, the actuation portion 330 continues to travel distally, firingthe staples. The cartridge assembly and anvil include a slot for permitting the actuation portion 330 to travel toward the distal end of the jaw members. The handle assembly disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,953,139 to Milliman et al., the entire contentsof which are hereby incorporated by reference herein, may be used. In this embodiment, the actuation portion 330 is connected to the knife member, which pushes the sled 650 to fire the staples.

Referring now to FIGS. 9-17, embodiments of the present disclosure relating to various knife/firing rod connections are shown. In these embodiments, the structure of a portion of firing rod 320 and/or a portion of a knife 400 is configured toenable connection between firing rod 320 and a single-use knife 400, thus enabling a fresh knife 400 to be used for each firing of surgical instrument 100.

With particular reference to FIGS. 9 and 10, a first embodiment of a knife/firing rod connection is shown. Specifically, FIG. 9 illustrates firing rod 320a in a first, proximal position where a loading unit, or replaceable cartridge, has beeninserted into the cartridge assembly and firing rod 320a and knife 400a are unlinked. FIG. 10 illustrates firing rod 320a in a second, distal position where firing rod 320a and knife 400a are linked. Firing rod 320a and knife 400a of this embodimentare configured such that distal movement of firing rod 320a causes a distal end 322a thereof to link with knife 400a when end effector 150 is engaged with elongate portion 140 of surgical instrument 100. Additionally, proximal movement of firing rod320a causes knife 400a (which is linked thereto) to move proximally. Further, firing rod 320a and knife 400a are configured to become unlinked with each other when firing rod 320a has been translated proximally to a predetermined position (e.g.,corresponding to when firing handle 130 has been substantially fully retracted in the direction of arrow "C" in FIG. 1).

In the unlinked position (i.e., where there is a sufficient distance between a surface 401a of knife 400a and a surface 323a of distal end 322a of firing rod 320a (see FIG. 9)), a user may replace knife 400a with a fresh knife by replacingcartridge assembly 160, for example. While the illustrated embodiments illustrate the jaw members in the approximated position, it is envisioned that a user may remove and/or replace knife 400a when the jaw members are in an open position.

Further details of the interaction between lining rod 320a and knife 400a are described herein with continued reference to FIGS. 9 and 10. As firing rod 320a is advanced distally, at least one projection 142 (e.g., a pair of projections, aradially-disposed projection, etc.) disposed on elongate portion 140 is configured to move at least a portion of firing rod 320a transverse to the longitudinal axis (e.g., in the direction of arrow "D" in FIG. 10). For instance, a projection 143 cancontact a ramp 324a of firing rod 320a. As can be appreciated with regard to FIGS. 9 and 10, the combination of the distal movement and the transverse movement causes distal end 322a (e.g., J-shaped) of firing rod 320a to engage (e.g., link) a proximalportion 402a (e.g., J-shaped) of knife 400a. Correspondingly, as firing rod 320a is translated proximally, at least one projection 142 is configured to move at least a portion of firing rod 320a transverse to the longitudinal axis (e.g., in thedirection of arrow "E" in FIG. 9). For instance, projection 142 can contact a ramp 326a formed on firing rod 320a. Thus, the combination of the proximal movement and the transverse movement causes distal end 322a of firing rod 320a to disengage (e.g.,unlink) proximal portion 402a of knife 400a.

With particular reference to FIGS. 11 and 12, a second embodiment of a knife/firing rod connection is shown. Specifically, FIG. 11 illustrates the jaw members in an open position where knife 400b is not engaged or linked with a connector 360disposed distally of and adjacent firing rod 320b. FIG. 12 illustrates the jaw members in an approximated position where knife 400b is engaged or linked with connector 360. Connector 360 and knife 400b are configured such that when the jaw members arein the open position, connector 360 and knife 400b are unlinked (FIG. 11), thus allowing the cartridge (including knife 400b) to be removed. When the jaw members are in an approximated position (FIG. 12), a surface of the anvil jaw member contacts theknife 400b, rotating knife 400b so that connector 360 and knife 400b are linked, such that proximal and distal translation of firing rod 320 (and thus connector 360) results in proximal and distal translation of knife 400b, respectively. When the jawmembers are approximated, the cartridge cannot be removed from surgical instrument 100, as can be appreciated with reference to FIG. 12.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, connector 360 includes a hook-like portion that is configured to engage hook-like portion of knife 400b. Connector 360 is shown having a substantial J-shape, but any suitable shapes can be used forknife 400b and connector 360.

It is envisioned that connector 360 is movable (e.g., pivotable, swivelable, etc.) with respect to the distal end of firing rod 320. For example, when the jaw members are moved towards their open position, a proximal portion 402b of knife 400bmay contact an upper portion 362 of connector 360 to pivot/swivel upper portion 362 distally, thus creating enough space (or more space) for knife 400b to be removed from surgical instrument 100. Likewise, when the jaw members are approximated, upperportion 362 of connector 360 may pivot/swivel proximally, thus linking (or further linking) connector 360 with knife 400b, thus not allowing knife 400b to be removed therefrom. Additionally, a flange 370 is shown, which may be configured to helpmaintain connector 360 in its position and/or to help upper portion 362 of connector 360 move proximally.

Another embodiment of a knife/firing rod connection is illustrated in FIGS. 13 and 14. Specifically, FIG. 13 illustrates firing rod 320c in a first, proximal position where firing rod 320c and knife 400c are unlinked. FIG. 14 illustratesfiring rod 320c in a second, distal position where firing rod 320c and knife 400c are linked. Firing rod 320c and knife 400c of this embodiment are configured such that distal movement of firing rod 320c causes a distal end 322c thereof to link withknife 400c when end effector 150 is engaged with elongate portion 140 of surgical instrument 100.

More specifically, this embodiment of knife/firing rod connection includes a spring element 500 (e.g., a leaf spring) disposed in mechanical cooperation with knife 400c. A proximal portion 502 (e.g., being substantially J-shaped) of springelement 500 is biased towards a knife axis K-K. Here, distal movement of firing rod 320c urges proximal portion 502 of spring element 500 outwardly (i.e., away from knife axis K-K). The firing rod 320 includes an aperture 321 for receiving the springelement 500. Accordingly, proximal portion 502 of spring element 500 is temporarily secured to firing rod 320c. Thus, continued distal translation of firing-rod 320c causes distal translation of knife 400c. Further, proximal translation of firing rod320c causes proximal translation of knife 400c until firing rod 320c reaches a predetermined location (e.g., corresponding to when firing handle 130 has been substantially fully retracted in the direction of arrow "C" in FIG. 1) where firing rod 320cdisengages from spring element 500. Desirably, the shape of the aperture 321 and spring element 500 (or spring elements 500) is such that the spring element 500 is biased outwardly upon removing the cartridge from the device, disconnecting the firingrod 320 from the knife 400.

With particular reference to FIGS. 15-17, a fourth embodiment of a knife/firing rod connection is shown. Specifically, FIG. 15 illustrates firing rod 320d in a first, proximal position where firing rod 320d and knife 400d are unlinked. FIG. 16illustrates firing rod 320d in a second, distal position where firing rod 320d and knife 400d are linked. FIG. 17 is a side view of FIG. 16. Firing rod 320d and knife 400d of this embodiment are configured such that distal movement of firing rod 320dcauses a distal end 322d thereof to link with knife 4004 when end effector 150 is engaged with elongate portion 140 of surgical instrument 100. Additionally, proximal movement of firing rod 320d causes knife 400d (which is linked thereto) to moveproximally. Further, firing rod 320d and knife 400d are configured to become unlinked with one another when firing rod 320d has been translated proximally to a predetermined position (e.g., corresponding to when firing handle 130 has been substantiallyfully retracted in the direction of arrow "C" in FIG. 1). The distal end 322d and receptacle 402d of knife 400d are shaped so that the distal end 322d is biased outwardly upon removing the cartridge from the device, disconnecting the firing rod 320 fromthe knife 400.

In the unlinked position (FIG. 15), a user may replace knife 400d with a fresh knife by replacing cartridge assembly 160, for example. It is envisioned that the configuration of the end effector and firing rod 320d allows a user to removeand/or replace the cartridge when the jaw members are in an open and/or approximated position.

Further details of the interaction between firing rod 320d and knife 400d are described herein with continued reference to FIGS. 15 and 16. The connection can be formed as the distal end 322d resiliently snaps into the receptacle 402d. Alternatively, as firing rod 320d is advanced distally, a slope 142d disposed on elongate portion 140 is configured to move distal end 322d of firing rod 320d transverse to the longitudinal axis (e.g., in the direction of arrow "F" in FIG. 16) towards areceptacle 402d in knife 400d. Additionally, or alternatively, a slope on the elongate portion can be configured and arranged to pry the distal end 322 away from engagement with the knife. As can be appreciated with regard to FIGS. 15 and 16, thecombination of the distal movement and the transverse movement can be used to cause distal end 322d of firing rod 320d to engage receptacle 402d of knife 400d. The combination attic proximal movement and the transverse movement can be used to causedistal end 322d of firing rod 320d to engage receptacle 402d of knife 400d. Similar arrangements can be used for the connection between knife and firing-rod shown in FIGS. 13 and 14.

Additionally, it is envisioned that distal end 322d of firing rod 320d is biased away from knife 400d, i.e., in the substantial direction of arrow "G" in FIG. 15. Therefore, as firing rod 320d is translated proximally such that distal end 322dis proximal of slope 142d, distal end 322d moves out of receptacle 402d of knife 400d. Thus, this combination of movements unlinks firing rod 320d and knife 400d.

With reference to FIGS. 18-19, the present disclosure also relates to a cartridge assembly 600 for use with a surgical stapling instrument 100. Cartridge assembly 600 is configured to prevent a user from firing a single-use cartridge that hasalready been fired. More specifically, cartridge assembly 600 is configured to lock out its knife 640 and prevent re-use of a cartridge, after the cartridge has been fired.

An assembly view of cartridge assembly 600 is shown in FIG. 18. As shown, cartridge assembly 600 includes a channel 610, a cover 620, a staple cartridge 630 and a knife 640. Cover 620 is configured for mechanical engagement (e.g., a snap-fitconnection) with channel 610. Staple cartridge 630 is configured far mechanical engagement with cover 620 and knife 640 is configured for translation with respect to cover 620 and cartridge. FIG. 18 also illustrates a sled 650, which is configured fortranslation with respect to cover 620 (e.g., to eject staples from staple cartridge 630).

As shown, channel 610 includes a protrusion 612 thereon for engagement with a blocking member 622 (e.g., flexible finger) of cover 620. Upon engagement between channels 610 and cover 620, protrusion 612 causes blocking member 622 to move from afirst position where blocking member 622 is substantially parallel with a plane defined a surface 624 of cover 620, to a second position where at least a portion of blocking member 622 (e.g., a proximal portion 626) is spaced from the plane of surface624. In its second position, blocking member 622 is configured to substantially prevent distal translation of knife 640 after knife 640 has been deployed to fire staples, and then translate proximally past a predetermined position (see FIG. 19). It isenvisioned that cartridge assembly 600 is configured to allow proximal translation of knife 640 past blocking member 622 when blocking member 622 is in its second position. For example, the blocking member 622 may be formed as a resilient member. Inthe initial position of the knife, the blocking member 622 is depressed by the knife. After the knife has been advanced, pushing the sled distally to fire staples, the knife is retracted to the position shown in FIG. 19. The blocking member 622resiliently lifts, engaging a surface on the knife. As can be appreciated, cartridge assembly 600 can be used with various embodiments of surgical stapling instrument 100 described herein.

It will be understood that various modifications can be made to the various embodiments of the present disclosure herein disclosed without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. For example, the surgical stapling instrument of the presentdisclosure may include a single movable handle for performing all the functions (e.g., approximating the jaw members, firing staples, cutting tissue, opening the jaw members). It is envisioned that the single movable handle can be partially actuated toperform a first function and continued actuation would perform a second function. It is also envisioned that a first complete actuation would perform a first function and a second full actuation would perform a second function.

Further, the disclosed surgical stapling instrument may not include any movable handles; rather, surgical stapling instrument may be powered by means (e.g., battery, electrical, etc.) other than by actuation of a handle or clamp. An example ofa powered surgical stapler is disclosed in commonly-owned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/786,934, entitled Powered Surgical Instrument, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein. Additionally, the surgical staplinginstrument of the present disclosure may also have articulation capabilities, which can move the end effector between a first position where an axis of the end effector is parallel to an axis of the elongate portion, and a second position where the axisof the end effector is at an angle with respect to the axis of the elongate portion. An example of a surgical stapling instrument with an articulatable end effector is disclosed in commonly-owned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/544,203, entitledSurgical Instrument with Articulating Tool Assembly, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein. Therefore the above description should not be construed as limiting the disclosure but merely as exemplifications of variousembodiments thereof. Those skilled in the art will envision other modifications within the scope and spirit of the present disclosure as defined by the claims appended hereto.

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